Getting pulled over is usually a rare occurrence for most drivers. But then there are those who seem to be a magnet for the law for some reason. Whether you’re doing something wrong or just look like you are, this isn’t your first rodeo. But for most who are just trying to get from point A to point B without any hassle, getting pulled over can definitely frazzle a few nerves.
In these rare and awkward situations, things are usually said (we won't say by who) that would have been better left unsaid if you’d have had a moment to think clearly. Sometimes, without knowing it, we actually talk ourselves into tickets needlessly. It’s okay, we all get nervous sometimes, but while dealing with a police officer the problems can compound on themselves.
Maybe you’re the other type of person who gets pulled over so much that it’s little more than a witty game of cat and mouse. You may already know exactly what the cops can and can’t do to you, and seeing just how far you can push your luck is a big thrill. Slithering out of a sticky situation with little else than a warning by using your keen wits can seem appealing, but if you’re that person, you should be keeping notes on everything you do so the rest of us can learn.
Whoever you are, if you drive long enough, you’re bound to get pulled over eventually. When you do (whether you’ve always wanted to be that Hollywood bad-boy or you get so nervous you can’t think), here’s a handy list of things to say that can either earn you extra points or things to avoid because they'll only dig you into a hopeless trench.
20 Grinds Their Gears: “What’s It Gonna Take To Make This Go Away?”
Here’s another thing you don’t want to be getting into with a law officer: bribery. Whether it involves donations of cash or otherwise, it’s just not a good thing. Depending on where you live, penalties may vary, but with a felony charge often attached to bribery in California, the issue isn't something Johnny Law takes very lightly. Tens of thousands of dollars and years of imprisonment are maximum penalties for convictions of such crimes. Keep that in mind as you lead the officer to a discretionary crossroad between his career and a quick, road-side party favor. This’ll get you slapped with a felony for thinking it was really as easy as Hollywood makes it seem.
19 Love To Hear: “Do You Even Know Who I Am?”
Yes, they know exactly who you are! If you think this one is going to buy you any wiggle room to slither your way out of the mess you’ve painted yourself into, stop thinking right now.
It sounds silly, but cops say they hear this more often than you’d think, and it's always from that particular kind of hot-shot nobody.
This is another one of those finer things reserved for Hollywood bad boys, but since this is real-life (and you’re not even famous), all this’ll do is provoke him to stick his ticket book as far down into your pockets as he can, when he otherwise might have just let you go if you were being cool about it. Keep it up, champ!
18 Grind Their Gears: “The Light Wasn’t Red”
Here, you’re trying to take the exact reason that you were pulled over (whatever the reason), and saying that it didn’t happen (basically calling him a liar). Whether you did run it or not doesn’t matter now because if you get pulled over for running a red light, that’s what you have to now explain yourself out of. Having something a bit more witty and neutralizing than a denial of his professional assessment will work wonders for you here. But don’t just take what he says you did and say you didn’t do it. If you constantly chase yellow lights anyway, maybe you deserve to get a talkin’ to.
17 Love To Hear: “Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?”
Here’s a classic Jedi mind trick that it works so well that there has to be something drastically wrong with it. And there is: you’re probably just not bold enough to nail it. The key is to say it so confidently that just for a split second, he almost believes you. How it works is you have to simply get pulled over, roll your window down, and wait for the officer to approach you. As he walks up, look him dead in the eye and ask, “Do you know why I pulled you over tonight?” The look he gives you at that moment will tell you if you made a good choice. On the other hand, it might just set the tone for a long, uncomfortable talk.
16 Grinds Their Gears: “How Come You Didn’t Get That Guy?”
Here’s one that is just as burnt out by the time it leaves your mouth as the “it wasn’t me” line. Maybe that other guy should have gotten caught instead of you, but the fact of the matter is you’re the one explaining yourself right now.
It doesn’t matter what he’s doing anymore because he’s still doing it.
You are now in the process of experiencing what the losing end of rolling the dice feels like. This one is less about a traffic stop, and more related to being an adult about life in general. If you were doing something “too,” you were doing it regardless. (Don’t be a bust next time.)
15 Love To Hear: “Yes, Sir" and "No, Sir”
To a few people out there, this one could be considered stroking an already-enflamed ego and is something to be resisted as a matter of principle. In extreme cases, this may possibly be true, but not in most cases.
Usually, you’re talking to a guy who’s just trying to uphold the law.
Maybe you got pinched doing something stupid and it’s a lame ticket, but it’s not like they don’t know it’s an unfortunate ticket, too. Somebody’s got to write them though, and this is the same guy who rushes in to save you when scary things go bump in the night. A tiny bit of acknowledgement and respect goes a long way.
14 Grinds Their Gears: “There’s No Way I Was Going That Fast”
The speed limit is the speed limit. It’s likely been there since you started driving on that road and you’ve probably passed it thousands of times—no doubt speeding every time, too. The day will come when you are called to answer for your sins and when you do, you’ll suddenly be locked into a quick verbal battle over hundreds of your hard-earned dollars that will be completed in a matter of minutes. Flat-out calling him a liar for calling you on speeding down a road you’ve sped down a billion times without getting caught isn’t your sharpest angle. That’s literally being too lazy to even lie your way out of a ticket.
13 Love To Hear: “I’m Having A Bad Day"
One time, I decided to burnout at a bad time. As soon as the light turned green for a left turn, I stomped on the gas and drifted my huge, ¾-ton truck through the middle of an intersection at 5:00pm on a Wednesday like nobody was going to see it.
I got about 500 feet down the road before getting lit up by the fuzz.
When asked what exactly I thought I was doing, I couldn’t really say much. “I had a really rough day and made a really dumb decision. I don’t even have a good answer for you.” He glared at me with his standard-issue mustache from behind his mirrored aviators and told me, “Consider yourself lucky I have somewhere to be right now.” Then he walked back to his bike and rode away.
12 Grinds Their Gears: “I’m Actually On My Way To Go Get That Fixed Right Now”
Just admit it, you weren’t on your way to get it fixed. They know you weren’t and they hear this more than you think they do. But when it’s your turn to get pulled over, it usually comes at a bad time. Your registration is six months overdue and you now have 15 seconds to think of a good story as to why you haven’t been able to find time in the last 180 days to figure your life out. Would you deliver the good-old white lie, or come completely clean? All lying does is chisel away any respect he has for you before you opened your mouth to lie to his face in the first place.
11 Grinds Their Gears: “I Know People On The Force”
Here’s the deal, even if you did know people on the force, people who would perhaps be of assistance to you now, don’t be a name-dropper. Everybody’s knows this move and not many people even attempt being name-dropper. Why? Because your friend is lame and everybody hates him, are two good starting points. Nobody takes this seriously and it only serves to make you seem pretentious. So even if you personally have tea with the Commissioner of Gotham City every evening at 7:00pm, the only person who really cares is you. It’s embarrassing and your 'inside connect' on the force doesn’t likely have the power to do anything for you anyway.
10 Grinds Their Gears: “So This Is What I Pay Taxes For, Huh?”
So what? You kinda rolled through that four-way stop next to your house; you’ve done it a thousand times. It’s perfectly safe and you know that corner like the palm of your hand. What a ridiculous ticket, bro! It’s almost impossible not to let your mind wander to all the things the police aren’t doing at the exact moment they are chastising your sweet, innocent cheeks on the side of the road for something petty. Of course, these thoughts are perfectly valid but it’s best to keep them from flapping out of your lips to the one person who cares about your opinion as much as you cared about a complete stop at the intersection you got popped in.
9 Love To Hear: “Sure, You Can Search It”
Although laws vary from place to place, you generally have search and seizure rights to some degree that cannot be violated without probable cause. But that’s all the generic stuff.
Cops have no trouble twisting things around to make it sound like the really good idea would be to consent to a search.
There are 101 different angles to this approach—and it’s not like you don’t see it coming—but somehow, you just kind of seem cornered into almost having to let them search it. Prepare to be grilled until they lose interest or get you to submit if you’ve mistakenly given them a reason.
8 Love To Hear: “I’ll Bet You’re Going To Arrest Me For What's Under My Seat, Too”
Believe it or not, it’s been said. Whether it was just a bad judgment call or a feeling of sticking it to the man is known only to the poor fool who said it. But what this is is simply a completely voluntary submission of non-critical information that could have been left unsaid. The arrest may actually have been made for a separate incident when someone, being put into a patrol car under arrest for separate charges, told officers they might as well just arrest him for the illicit substances under the front seat while they’re at it. It’s likely they’d have recovered whatever it is, anyways, but you won’t hear a gripe from cops about making their day easier.
7 Grinds Their Gears: “Way To Catch The Real Bad Guys”
Anyone who’s ever been popped by the fuzz while just trying to get down on a tall-boy in the parking lot before a show has said this at least once under their breath, and you know who you are.
But seriously, they might as well be the buzz-kill patrol for all it concerns you.
There you are, not bothering a soul, trying to smash on that warm 24 ounces of brew that’s been rolling around in your back seat. But nooooooo. You gotta get hassled for chillin’! Suppression of a free society, right? Seems like it, yes, but to the rest of the free society, you plowing down a paper-wrapped tall can in the shadows of a parking lot makes you a deviant, and potentially dangerous, driver.
6 Love to Hear: Any Non-Aggressive Displays Of Defiance
It wasn’t you, right? Sure buddy, I believe you. Heck, we all do. The thing is, you’re sitting there, pissed off because you don’t think you’re in the wrong, and you ‘know your rights,’ right? You know that an officer cannot touch you and you can technically sit there and mouth off with whatever garbage comes to your mind, sound like a super-tough guy, and even post it online.
This is basically like taunting a lion at the zoo through those big, thick bars.
And there’s nothing anyone can do about it. You’re perfectly safe, so keep acting hard-core. Just make sure this guy never, ever, ever pulls you over when you’re actually doing something wrong. He will remember your face, and your car, and you'll live to regret your choices.
5 Love To Hear: Tell Them The Truth—You’re Just Wack
Not in quite those words, but cops are people that uphold the law, they're not the law itself. Understanding that you’re being stiffed by the badge, rather than a person that wears it, will help lubricate the situation a bit.
Maybe they’ll even sympathize with you some tiny amount, too.
They’ve been where you are and know that everybody makes mistakes from time to time, and a little bit of humility and self-deprecation can go a long way. I myself prefer this approach because it gives them all the power and therefore, removes all reason to assert any dominance. I’m just an honest guy that made an honest mistake, it was stupid and I’m sorry about it. No attitude, just coolness.
4 Grinds Their Gears: “It’s Really Not My Fault”
It may very well not be your fault, but you still have to go into any situation where you need to lean on this excuse with the knowledge that “it’s never anybody’s fault.” Just imagine their everyday routine: they drive around and respond to traffic incidents and file reports. They could be bouncing around to calls and filing reports all day long. Pretty much, this means they’re talking to people just like you, in situations very similar to yours, about the same, exact things, over and over and over. Officers are sometimes surprised at how many people will rear end other people and somehow find a way to blame the person they hit, even if they’re parked!
3 Love To Hear: Third Base
For all the sadness cultivated from the millions of tickets they write to everyday do-gooders like me and you, the police do put their lives on the line in service of the community.
It’s a hard job, so they definitely appreciate a little humor now and again.
Next time you find yourself bent over the hood of a police interceptor, you can try to cast a lure of humor out to him and see if he nibbles. Wait until his hand pats around your inner thigh, then softly suggest that he at least take you out to dinner first. But then again, if he doesn’t respond positively, you may have to work a lot harder to evade this ticket.
2 Grinds Their Gears: “If I’m Getting Shafted, Can We At Least Speed It Up?”
Here’s one that nobody needs to hear. Sure, we feel this way (anybody would), but if you’re in the process of getting a ticket and still have hope of possibly sliding your way out from under the heel of the law, this is something you definitely don’t want to say. If you just want to ruffle his feathers the wrong way and give him reasons to be meaner, he’ll gladly fold you over the letter of the law with every little inconvenience he can. But in actuality, the officer probably just wants to hit it and quit it real quick. Tell him things like “make it snappy” if you want to see just how long he can detain you on the side of the road for no reason.
1 Love To Hear: “I Do Not Know”
Many times, our nerves get the best of us and in situations that are unfamiliar, we can kind of fumble for the right words. They sound so perfect in our heads, but let's be honest, you’ve never been that graceful with transforming thoughts into words in the first place. If getting pulled over isn’t an everyday thing for you (which it shouldn’t be), do yourself a favor and don’t try to over-explain things. Sometimes, it’s better to keep it simple. There’s nothing wrong with not having a million words for something. Don’t you think that hearing awkward lying all day long gets old? Try being a traffic cop.